Just Say No (To Forced Hugs)
One day while picking up her child from daycare a mom noticed that her daughter’s friend was making a big deal about not wanting to hug her child goodbye. The mom finds it strange since the two little girls are seemingly on a friendly basis as they play together often but when it is time to go and the first little girl goes to hug, the second girl is unwilling. Even after complaining to her mother that the hugs were unwanted, the second little girl was essentially forced to begin reciprocating the unwanted affection. The daycare attendant told her mom that she should have to hug her back because she’s just doing it out of spite. This brought up the question in the first mother’s mind: what exactly must be done about a situation like this? If a child doesn’t want a hug or if they are refusing to hug another child goodbye shouldn’t their personal boundaries be respected? Or being that they are so young should it be encouraged/enforced to prevent hurting the little girl’s feelings?
- Different children have different expectations of personal space which may affect how they choose to greet people.
- Children should not be forced into uncomfortable situations at the behest of parents or caregivers.
- It is important for children to learn and understand what consent is and how to resist pressure.
“It is her body and she should only hug who she wants to hug.”